Speedy, sustainable refills at new water stations

At the water dispenser

Chase Uster, a recreation services student employee, fills up at a new water station on the third floor workout area in the Lied Recreation Athletic Facility. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Green-minded university citizens always are looking for ways to reduce the number of disposable beverage containers. ISU Dining offers a 35-cent discount on your drinks if you bring your reusable bottle or mug to retail cafés. For some time, facilities staff have been adding gooseneck water spouts to fountains in existing buildings and new construction. Now, there's new technology that may help persuade more of us to refill rather than pitch our water containers.

The touchless water station, a high-tech device that senses your water bottle under the spigot and delivers a fast fill-up, has come to campus. Stations are located in:

  • State Gym: One each in the gymnasium, first-floor weight area and second-floor weight area
  • Lied Recreation Athletic Facility: Two on first floor, two on the third floor and three in the wrestling practice room on second floor
  • Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility: Two in locker rooms, one in a meeting room and one at the players' entrance
  • Friley Hall: Main level, Henderson House (Staff hope to install 20 more stations in residence halls this summer)

Oil and water

The new water stations keep a running tally of how many disposable bottles' worth of water they've dispensed. For the three State Gym stations in operation since February 2012, the total bottle count is 191,000.

Sustainability director Merry Rankin offers another statistic. Imagine that 16-ounce plastic bottle filled with 4 ounces of petroleum. That's how much oil on average it takes just to produce the bottle.